By Dr W G Prasanna Kumar
Hyderabad : The National Green Corps (NGC) of the Department of Environment, Forest, Science & Technology, Government of Telangana has devised a new slogan – “Plant and Protect Local Flowering Plants” for the forthcoming Bathukamma Floral Plant Biodiversity Promotion Campaign.
These flowers promote local insect life and increase the yield from crops through pollination with the support of these insects. The honey bees increase the honey combs with these flowers as well as honey production. The campaign will promote growing of native flowering plants which support native flowers which in turn support native insects in pollination of native crops and better yields thereof. Also native flowering plants have their own medicinal value and curative role in local ailments. They are a great source of Home Remedies. Planting Bathukamma flower plants will make our neighbourhood self sufficient in native flowering plants with medicinal value. The petals of these flowers are not only medicinal (rich in anti oxidants) and cleansing but also a rich source of natural colors for Holi and Lord Ganesh and Goddess Durga Idols”.
“Traditionally Bathukamma is a lover of flowers. Flowers are arranged on a square wooden plank or a square bamboo frame with the size of frames tapering off to form a pinnacle on top. They resemble the shape of a temple ‘Gopura’. Gauramma made with turmeric is placed on top of the flowers indicating the highest value for the role of turmeric. This little floral mountain is worshipped as Goddess Bathukamma”.
Several competitions of singing Bathukamma songs and making colorful Bathukammas are being organized in all 8 universities in Telangana region to mark this campaign. A facebook competition with 3 prizes is also being run simultaneously. Contestants need to post a captioned photo about the Bathukamma Festival with mainly the flowers used. The Facebook Post that gets maximum likes will be the winner. These competitions are being organized with the support of education department and NSS in the state.
NGC Prakrithi Mitra will be training healthy college and university girls from NSS/ NCC who also know swimming, as volunteers to help in releasing Bathukammas with no plastics into water in the lakes and waterbodies and to provide support on lakes and waterbodies in all 10 districts of Telangana where arrangements are being made for releasing the Bathukammas. Competitions for Girl students from Universities are being organized in each of the 10 districts in making diverse and colourful Bathukammas with 22 local varieties of flowers.
Prakrithi Mitra- National Green Corps is producing a video film of 10 min duration that introduces the various Bathukamma Flowers. It will have several independent short videos explaining the various flowers used with narration of their health and other uses, their English and local names etc., the Narration will be done by Prakrithi Mitra – NGC volunteers with Senior Citizens in any College / School premises. Already available Flower images and text will also be used. The treatment will have different volunteer faces with narration and presentation.
A poster, a banner and a brochure on the NGC Green Bathukamma Festival Campaign is also being circulated among the schools, colleges and universities in Telangana State to support the environmental education aspects of the festival and ritual.